Several at-risk children have suffered abuse in Bolton, new figures from the Department of Education have revealed.

There have been several recorded incidents of vulnerable children being abused in Bolton.

Department for Education figures show five serious incidents regarding the welfare of children in Bolton were recorded in 2022-23 – up from one or two the year before.

Mid-year population estimates show 71,391 children lived in Bolton last year, meaning seven incidents per 100,000 children were recorded in the area.

A serious incident is when a child suspected of being neglected or abused has either been seriously harmed or has died.

It also includes any looked-after children who have been harmed or died, whether abuse or neglect is suspected or not.

And The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have now stated the figures must be a "catalyst" for the Government to urgently transform the child protection system.

The council’s executive cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Martin Donaghy, said: “While, thankfully, cases like this are relatively rare, one serious incident involving a child is one too many.

“All the safeguarding partners in Bolton, including the police, NHS and the council, work closely together to ensure the right measures are in place to protect children.

“Following a serious incident, partners undertake any appropriate review processes to identify opportunities to learn and improve safeguarding.”

Across England, there has been an increase in the number of at-risk children being killed or seriously injured.

In England, 456 incidents were recorded – up marginally from 442 the year before, though this is still below a recent peak in 2020-21 of 536, which is substantially higher than any of the last five years.

Of the 456 incidents this year, 201 related to a child’s death, while 244 resulted in serious harm – which includes serious impairment of a child’s mental health or intellectual, emotional or social development, or serious impairment of their physical health.

The NSPCC said a child who has suffered serious harm or even died, often due to abuse and neglect by those who should protect them, is "behind every one of these figures".

Abigail Gill, associate head of policy, said: "It is babies and our youngest children who are most reliant on the adults around them for care and protection and particularly vulnerable to harm being inflicted on them."

Ms Gill added: "These stark figures must be a catalyst for Government to show the political will and leadership needed to transform the child protection system as a matter of urgency to protect our most vulnerable children."

The Department for Education spokesperson said: "Any incidents of abuse relating to children are abhorrent and we continuously work closely with agencies including Ofsted and local authorities to ensure strict protocols are in place to deal with cases quickly and effectively.

"Through our recently launched care strategy backed by £200 million, we are transforming the system to focus on more early support for families, reducing the need for crisis response at a later stage, alongside significant spending of £10.8bn on social care this year alone, an increase of almost £800m year on year."

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